Disruptive Technology: Are You Ready for the Postdigital Age?
Deloitte Insights video
Approximately 2 billion people – about 30 percent of the world’s population – are using the Internet for communication, information and commerce. There are also about 500 million people signed up for Facebook; if the social networking site were a country, it would be the third most populous country in the world. All of these statistics beg the question: What’s next for the Internet and technology – and the way it shapes our lives and businesses? Tune into this episode of Deloitte Insights to learn more.
It’s time for Insights, a video news production of Deloitte LLP. Now here’s your host, Sean O’Grady.
Sean O’Grady (Sean): Hello and welcome to Insights! Approximately, 2 billion people globally are using the Internet for communication, information and commerce. That is about 30% of the world’s population, and it’s likely that that number is going to increase. There are also about 500 million people signed up for the social networking site Facebook, meaning if Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populous country in the world. Now, all of these statistics beg the question what is next for the Internet and Technology and the way it shapes our lives and businesses. Here today to discuss these questions are Suketu Gandhi and Stephen Redwood, both Principals in Deloitte Consulting LLP. So gentlemen, I guess we’re going to start right there, and that is what is next for the Internet and Technology?
Suketu Gandhi (Suketu): What is happening is a complete new trend, a large disruptive force, and that force is combined of four or five subcomponents. The combination of social and the social technologies associated with that; mobility — mobility is all about connecting with people wherever they are; analytics — provides the deep insights that are associated with that; cloud — that changes how you leverage technology and how you pay for it; and finally cyber security — which ensures that all of these conversations are secure. These forces together combine to what we call the “Postdigital Enterprise.” We are already seeing signs of this. This is a technology disruption that is already in effect. We are seeing it in the “Arab Uprising” and “Arab Spring,” and we just recently saw it at the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where folks were talking to their friends to understand what’s the best place to buy something, what’s the right price to pay, and what is the optimum product for what they are trying to gift to somebody or use it for their own purposes. What we are seeing today is the combination of these forces are fundamentally changing how individuals, whether they are as consumers or as citizens in a country or employees at a company, are changing how they work. This new melding of technology and people is the new “Postdigital World,” and the impact of that on the enterprise is the “Postdigital Enterprise.”
Sean: How do you think this postdigital thought process might change the way that companies are doing business and organizations are doing business around the globe?
Stephen: I kind of think about this from the point of view of three things. Firstly, in terms of what are the structural implications, secondly how do we think about this from the point of view of collaboration, and thirdly, control — what’s the role of a human being in respect of that. If you think of the structure first, with technologies now and increasingly, the user interface is much more intuitive, the accessibility to software and to data has become hugely more prevalent. That in itself has changed the dynamics of the way in which work gets done. From a collaboration point of view, the impact of social media is having a huge impact on the way in which people share information, the accessibility of information, and their ability to collaborate around problem solving and to employ some of the techniques, I guess, of crowd sourcing and things like that are becoming more widely understood. And then thirdly, I think around controls, what is really interesting about this is that people are no longer tied to a desk. They no longer are tied to going into the same office building everyday. Where work needs to get done is much looser. So effectively, we are freeing up. This is not just a kind of real estate question. This is a question of giving people back control about where and how they get work done, the value potential of these three things: structure, collaboration and individual control of how work gets done is going to put companies in a completely different position of being able to remove a lot more of the old non-value-added activities that people used to think about in the business process reengineering age; and focus is much more on compressing down to what is adding true value to the way the enterprise operates.
Sean: So the question that is coming to my mind is the implementation. If an organization is watching this program or an individual is watching this program and is thinking about okay how do I go about embedding this into my organization? Where do they start when you have got so many different technologies to choose from?
Suketu: You start from the business problem. There have been quite a few surveys over the last few years around what are the top two or three agenda items of the board and CEO. Two things that come up consistently. One is around how do I grow topline revenue growth, either through innovation or through by understanding our consumer/customer, the buyer of our products and services better. The second one is agility and agility by itself implies speed, but speed without insight can take you down the wrong path. So agility with insight is the second piece that has consistently come up as an organizational strength that companies and enterprises are looking to build. One of the interesting insights generated in the pharma industry was around the fact that it is not how much advertising you do for a particular pharmaceutical product, but what is the network of the doctors in the area and what is the relationship they have with the pharmacists. That influences a lot more about the product being purchased; so bring it back to the business question. So that’s one around growing topline revenue. The second around agility: This is a key area based on what Stephen talked about how does the organization change and what happens here is it gets significantly flattened because the role of hierarchy for a long period of time was to flow information up and push decisions down. In this world, decision is made at the point of providing the product or service. So I don’t need people to tell me what key information is. A frontline retail employee or a frontline hospitality employee can actually capture the information, respond to it based on the analysis that was done at the back, and react much quicker to the challenge of the customer. There are two approaches to really designing the future state. One is either you take your existing processes and apply these new technologies to it. That will get you some benefits or the other way is to reimagine how you do this work knowing fully well that these are the platforms and technologies available to you to do it different.
Sean: Stephen, how would a company go about embedding either one of those philosophies?
Stephen: Whichever of these approaches you take in this new kind of environment that you bring forward your thinking about what are the implications for what we are getting into here for the organization, the way work is going to get done, and how we are going to bring people along with us because for a lot of people it is not just about learning to operate new technologies, it is also the organization may get reconfigured around them. That is a lot of new thinking that could be done. The upside is that you get a lot more value released earlier than you would conventionally. The downside is that you will have to put more effort in up-front in order to figure out what the end state is going to look like.
Sean: Have to do conditioning to build your agility.
Gentlemen, thank you both very much for joining us.
You’re welcome! Okay, we have been talking about the postdigital age with Suketu Gandhi and Stephen Redwood, both Principals within Deloitte Consulting LLP.
If you would like to learn more about Suketu, Stephen, or any of the topics discussed on today’s broadcast, you can find that information on our website, it is http://www.deloitte.com/insightsus. For all the good folks here at Insights, I am Sean O’Graddy. We will see you next time.
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